Visually and hearing impaired: ‘Consider our plight’

Wednesday September 4 2019

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According to the third Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey 2012 shows that there are 65,000 and 34,000 visually and hearing impaired people in Rwanda respectively. Photo | Cyril NDEGEYA 

ARAFAT MUGABO
By ARAFAT MUGABO
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Rwanda's third Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey 2012 shows that there are 65,000 and 34,000 visually and hearing impaired people, respectively, in the country.

It thus follows that the government was responding to the needs of this group when it crafted policies protecting people living with disabilities (PLWDs).

However, people with visual, and hearing impairment also need facilities beyond the policies. They need reading aids, hearing gadgets and sign language dictionary among others.

“It is disturbing to be a university student when you cannot easily access the library and computer lab for revision like your fellow students,” said Emmanuel Munyengabe, a visually impaired graduate from the University of Rwanda.

“For instance, when I was still at the University of Rwanda I had to carry my laptop, which had reading screen software to be able to sit for exams,” he added.

“There are Visually impaired people who can afford reading softwares in their computers, but the majority cannot,” noted Mr said Munyengabe

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He regretted that most visually impaired graduates are unable to cope in work environment due to lack of requisite gadgets.

“If nothing is done to help us get access to all required materials while in and after school, attaining the quality education and good jobs for visually impaired people is still difficult,” regretted Mr Munyengabe.

Ephraim Musabyimana, another person with hearing impairment, said, most local health insurers, including public hospitals, do not have a cover for hearing problems, making it difficult to access medical attention.

“Hearing aids are expensive and, until recently, I did not know that they were not covered by my private insurer,” said Mr. Musabyimana. “I was advised to seek support from the National Council of Persons with Disability (NCPWD) to get help.”

The movements seeking for help from multiple Organisations are very hectic and makes it hard for the poor to afford.

“What we want the government to help us is to ease access to hearing gadgets and local sign language dictionary to help us learn by dictionaries like others,” he added.

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